Author: Trish Morey
Stone Castles is one of those books that captures you from the very first page and refuses to let your mind rest once you put it down. I got so involved with Pip’s story that I lost track of time and suffered a severe case of one-more-chapteritis, once I finally got that under control and headed to bed I found myself starting this review in my head instead of sleeping – and then of course completely forgot it when I got up. This beginning is nowhere near as brilliant as my late night musings but my best work comes to me on the brink of sleep.
Many rural romance plots see high school sweethearts reunited after years apart, and in that respect Stone Castles is no different. It isn’t long before Morey takes this one away from the others in the genre.
Quite often through the opening chapters I found myself repeating “Methinks these people doth protest too much, who exactly are they trying to convince.”
Luke Trenorden and Pip Martin have known one another forever, they went to preschool and then primary school together, they were the best of friends and over time that their feelings changed adding an element of friends to lovers to the story – until the night that tore them apart and saw Pip head back to Sydney to Uni and then all the way to New York to build her career.
A decade later Pip returns to her tiny hometown on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia to say her goodbyes to her fading grandmother. She is returning to the place that she grew up where every street and every corner holds memories. Some of them bring a wistful smile and some to the brink of heartbroken tears.
I identified with this on a couple of levels because I live in South Australia and though I have never been to the Yorke Peninsula I have driven through Adelaide and out Port Wakefield Road, as well as many airport trips. My real identification with Pip’s homecoming was with the homecoming itself. I grew up on the other side of the country so when I visit home it hits just how much I miss it. It’s something that actually gets stronger once you are back home and catching up with friends you’ve known forever but have spent way too much time away from. It makes the hurt stronger having to leave all over again.
Luke has remained on his family farm, moved on from his high school love and is quite happy keeping his own company after a failed marriage. He is living the life he was born to, surrounded by the people he has grown up with and though he’s been burnt a time or two he is happy enough with the life he’s leading.
Pip has it all in New York, or so she keeps telling us; her dream job, a fantastic apartment, an amazing roommate and a hot man to warm her bed when required. She is in complete control and is the epitome of professionalism. This is where her life is and she’s happy. She’s in the running for an exciting promotion and has to race back as soon as everything is in order so she doesn’t miss the interview.
Morey’s characters are clearly still in love, clearly still in pain and very much determined to steer clear of one another – of course this is easier said than done in a small town. Especially when his best mate and her best friend are married and have 3 children, the youngest a baby. Time may not heal all wounds but absence certainly sometimes makes the heart grow fonder. None of which matters because Pip is only in town for a very short time, her whole life is in New York – even if everyone who loves her is in South Australia.
Pip is very self centred, she was shattered by the bombshell dropped on her and she has held onto that for fifteen long years. Always on about the way it has affected her without ever thinking about the situations her friends are in and how the situations relate. Luke knows and understands her on such a deep level, a level that even she hasn’t breached yet.
I loved Stone Castles for the resonating homecoming element of the story but I also loved it for Morey’s characters and the plot twists that hit me from left field. Live, Love and Laugh with Morey and her Kadina crew; you won’t regret it.
Stone Castles is book #4 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.